Lindsay Davis is Head of Markets at Atomic, a payroll connectivity company that enables consumers to unlock the power of their paycheck through user-authorized access to payroll accounts. Atomic’s APIs provide the infrastructure to connect consumers to their financial data for income and employment verification, direct deposit automation, tax withholding optimization and payroll access earned but not paid.
Atomic serves over 100 banks, credit unions, and fintechs, including Coinbase, Dave, and Propel. In 2021, the company reported that its coverage had grown to more than 75% of the U.S. workforce, reaching 125 million workers and covering more than 450 unique payroll integrations.
Lindsay is part of Atomic’s leadership team. Prior to her current role, she worked at CB Insights as a senior intelligence analyst, building and scaling the company’s fintech vertical.
Lindsay first met Atomic co-founder and CEO Jordan Wright while researching a CB Insights report titled Fintech Trends to Watch. One of the trends in this report concerned ‘wage unbundling’. So Lindsay was looking for companies that were reinventing the financial infrastructure to provide consumers with things like flexible access to salaries, creative solutions to tackle debt, and ways to improve financial health.
Jordan was one of the founders Lindsay met while working on her report. “One of the things that really intrigued me about Jordan was that he and I had about 150 mutual fintech relationships, like really cool people in common,” she said. “And I thought, ‘How come I’ve never met this guy before?’ I knew I had to meet him.
So Lindsay decided to call him and approach him as a source for his report. “I told him about my research and told him that one of the things I wanted to do was ‘bundle the paycheck’ – and he kind of stopped me there. He said, “You know, we’re looking to do something related to payroll infrastructure, and I’m going to get on a plane and convince you to join us.”
Lindsay’s first reaction was to reject the offer. “At the time, I thought it was a bit crazy. I had never met this person before. Also, I had just built a team of nine analysts at CB Insights, so I said no. But looking back, I always say that’s one of the biggest regrets of my career, because I could have been very, very early at Atomic – even though I eventually joined very early.
A few months later, at the height of the pandemic, Lindsay decided to quit her job at CB Insights because she felt the research she was doing was not what the industry needed at the time. “We have worked for large financial services companies, in many cases helping them buy fintech companies. And I really didn’t want to see fintech companies get bought out and abandon their innovation, just because they couldn’t weather the storm.
In November 2020, Lindsay finally joined Atomic. As Head of Markets, she is responsible for setting the company’s overall payroll connectivity strategy, educating stakeholders about the market the company is building and why it is important, as well as creating a long-term vision by helping the company understand how the product roadmap should evolve towards fairer financial services for marginalized consumers.
Here’s what a typical workday looks like for a contracting manager at a growing payroll connectivity company.
The working day
I’m a bit of an insomniac, so I fall asleep between 1am and 4am. I like to wake up between 8 and 9, depending on what happens – I work with international teams, so sometimes I get up early to be in the same time zone as them and check in.
On Monday mornings, I meet with our CEO Jordan to plan the week, make sure he has an agenda for the one to two must-haves I’ve put in his camp, and talk to him about my priorities for the week.
I also have a weekly meeting with the leadership team, which includes our co-founder and CTO, Scott, our CRO, and the heads of product, customer success, and security. We discuss progress on our KPIs as well as goals for the week, and we spend most of our time helping each other break down obstacles and barriers. The focus is always on customer success and we do everything we can to ensure that our customers accept the product or service we are working on.
Of course, I also spend time working directly with my team. We’ve grown rapidly, so a lot of my focus has been on hiring and selecting the best candidates. That will probably be my biggest goal for the rest of the year – to recruit great talent.
Throughout the day, I can also get dragged into things, like an impromptu brainstorm or a media interview. My framework for this is “do, delegate or delete”. I wonder, am I the person who should do this? If not, can someone else in the management team or the marketing team handle this? Nope? Then it’s probably something we’re going to skip because the timing isn’t right. I think we all get sucked into things during the day, so it’s pretty important to have that framework in mind.
When it comes to food, I’m an intermittent quicker, so I don’t usually break the fast at work, unless it’s for a lunch with a client or a team lunch. I usually live on a combination of Spindrift and lots of coffee, which keeps me going all day. I try to be normal with my colleagues and friends, but I can pretty much go all day without eating and still have a crazy amount of energy, because I really love what I do – which is working in the fintech and get to talk about the amazing things happening in this world.
I like to catch up on my emails in the evening, to be honest. The day gets pretty busy – and I turn off my notifications on my desktop during the day because they can easily become a distraction.
I train every day, whenever possible – and obviously have my buddy in the background (points to Peloton). There’s a great ride from Freddie Mercury right now. They’re doing a Queen show, so that’s my favorite – that and the Beyoncé show. I also try to find other people to join me on these rides. My boyfriend and I created a few hashtags, #nycfintech and #sffintech. We try to integrate people from other fintech cities. It’s kind of fun when we can form a nice and coordinated group.
Then comes dinner – I break the fast at some point! I love going out in New York. Luckily, I’m in the Nolita area, which is one of the best restaurants in town. There’s Pasquale Jones and Rubirosa – I have some really good pizza around. And so Platoon and pizza – they usually balance each other out in my mind. So that’s where I like to splurge a bit.
On weekends, when I have more time, I like to do extremely long runs, like 10-13 miles. Our team had a turkey trot recently, and I didn’t want them to get discouraged, so I let them go before me. But someone actually ran seven miles!
Personally, Peloton saved my life during the pandemic. At the time we were all sent home in March 2020, I was living in a 500 square foot apartment. All day, I worked, ate and slept in this same space. But my workouts kept me going.
After leaving CB Insights, I also wrote a Fintech Pandemic Playbook. I interviewed over 100 fintech founders and executives, and published my research with an independent PR firm. It was a dedicated framework around the question: “How are you weathering this storm? The goal was to come up with something to help fintech companies through the crisis and give founders a little more reason to keep going. During this period, I heard many sad things. But at the same time, I saw a lot of resilience and heard a lot of optimism about the future, which kept me going personally.
My time at Atomic so far has been a real rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs. We’ve grown from zero to over 100 customers and partners, from one product to five solutions, and from an early-stage company to announcing a $40 million Series B last month. And everything is happening so much faster than I expected. I mean, a lot of areas within fintech are growing fast. But this particular market is like… hyperspeed. We’re a fundamentally different company than we were a year ago, but I’ve really enjoyed every second of it.